Spitfire Pilots Return To London

Yes, I guess I’ll grant that. Most of the credit belonged to Roll-Royce for turning the original Allison-engined Mustang into a worth-while aircraft.

The Mustang range was a drop tank modification which could easily have been added to the Spitfire. The aircraft served different missions since the Mustangs were used to back up daylight bombing at higher altitudes.

There was also a tank in the P-51 fuselage behind the pilot. Because it was well aft of the centre of gravity it gave the aircraft a slightly annoying characteristic while it was emptying (drawing fuel from that tank made it impossible to trim the plane to fly level) and made it somewhat lumpen to manoeuvre while the tank was full. Hence the P51 would usually take off, climb and fly the early part of the outbound on the rear tank, then after that was empty switch to the drop tanks, then fly home on the ‘normal’ tankage.
Various spitfires (e.g. the photorecon variants) had all sorts of different extra tanks crafted to boost range (including a rear-fuselage tank, drop tanks, etc.). As an experiment they fitted all the various different tank options to one plane and it was flown from the south of england over scotland and back non-stop. It apparently displayed the same slightly awkward ‘hunting’ trim as the P51 and PR Spitfires until the rear tank was empty, and otherwise was fine. Late model Sptitfire IX with rear tanks could apparently fly 1000+ miles on internal fuel only - they just couldn’t manouevre at all until the rear tanks emptied. So the RAF could easily have had Spits over Berlin if they wanted - I guess they just didn’t feel the need to build a long-range fighter to support the USAAF in its daylight campaign (after all, it’s not like the US couldn’t obtain its own long-range escorts). Presumably they could just as easily have had Spitfires with an extra half-hour or more of endurance during the BoB, which might have been a different story entirely - however the desperate need to build Spits as fast as possible may have put them of faffing with the design.

From what I understand (and I read it years ago) the problem in the Battle of Britain was not lack of aircraft- they had reserves- but rather the lack of trained pilots. Please don’t ask for a cite.

Magiver- I don’t know what your problem is but I have no difficulty with the Govt spending some money on veterans. Your idea of culling them out is ludicrous- how many do you think are available who are fit to travel?

If you wish to argue the point please pit me.

The Air Ministry actually ordered the Mustang B as a replacement for the Spitfire. It wasn’t originally designed for the USAF, but for the RAF.

The Mustang had vastly increased range on internal fuel alone; the Spitfire wouldn’t have been able to go to Berlin until the later variants slaphead referenced were introduced, which had much larger internal fuel tanks plus the drop-tank hardpoints.

Part of the Mustang’s range advantage was aerodynamic – the so-called “laminar flow” wings very very low-drag. A p-51 was about 4 times as fel-efficient as a P-47 (granted that’s not the same as comparing it to a Spit.)

It’s a simple objective question that doesn’t require the emotion you’re putting into it. I’m sorry if my original post seemed snarky. How do you justify singling out veterans for a vacation trip and what fund does it come out of?

Seriously, you wake up one morning and decide it would be a nice gesture to honor a few veterans, who do you go to with the request and where do they get the money? It doesn’t matter if you like the idea. I like the idea too. As I’ve stated twice, we’re doing it privately in the US. But it’s a different story to use public funds for it unless there’s legislative authority and that would be an all-inclusive venture. That doesn’t mean it would be fully funded to include every living veteran but it means a fund would be established that people could apply to until it’s extinguished.

I thought they had the same basic wings but I see now that the Spitfire didn’t get a laminar wing until after the war.

I was just over at the AF museum the other day looking at Mustangs, Spitfires and Mosquitos. The internet has really added to the experience. I always end up researching individual planes when I get home. It’s the little stuff like finding out they used radio waves to cure the glue on the Mosquito that I find fascinating.

The original elliptical Spitfire wing was itself something of a revelation because it generated additional lift. This was purely by accident; the wing was shaped that way to make room for the guns.